Cincinnati - Robert Morris Postgame Quotes
Nov. 15, 2015

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Postgame Quotes
UC vs. Robert Morris
November 15, 2015 

Cincinnati Head Coach Mick Cronin

Opening statement:
“Well, obviously, we can’t play much better than we played the last 33 minutes of the game – the first seven minutes their zone did a good job of slowing us down and had us a little uncomfortable. But it was good to see that our freshman were able to come in in a close game and make the impact they were able to make. I thought the second unit guys of Kevin (Johnson), Justin (Jenifer) and Jacob (Evans III), came in and really changed the game. They were knocking some shots down and getting some ball movement and getting in the press – they did an excellent job with the press. Kevin Johnson really changes things for us when he comes off the bench because he is our best defender on the perimeter by far. He was able to really able to turn up the heat in front of our press and change things. From there it was a snowball effect. We had 64 deflections which is tremendous. I know we scored a lot of points but it was because of our defensive effort. It was by far our best defensive effort of the four games we have played so far this year.”

On the 32 assists:
“Well, when you have two point guards that can pass – they had 18 of the 32 assists. Hopefully, we will have a lot of that going on this year with both of those guys out there. We were making shots, too.”

On the team’s shooting:
“I would like to be a team that can shoot close to 50 percent on the year. So far we are right around that number. Obviously, you need to be higher going into conference play because you tend to level out in conference play.”

On the play of Jacob Evans III and Kevin Johnson off the bench:
“They just made some shots. That is the beauty of having guys like that, we don’t really have back-ups. We feel we have 10 guys we can play at any time when we need to play them. Kevin just brings us so much energy with his defense. Obviously, he can score, but his defensive energy makes him a game-changer. That is why I am using him off the bench right now, but in my mind he is a starter. Justin is quick and Jacob brings us a shot maker off the bench as well, which it was big when he knocked in a shot or two early and we were able to get in the press.”

On scoring a combined 203 points in the first two games:
“Well, we have better players then the two teams we have played against. This is a marathon and it’s going to get a lot tougher.  I think Butler scored 150 last night. I have been around long enough to know that we are just getting started. But we got our six leading scorers from a year ago are back from a team that got knocked out of the NCAA tournament without their head coach, playing against the most talented team maybe in the history of college basketball – so we ought to be pretty good early on here. Plus, we have some freshmen that are helping us and our chemistry is much better than it was a year ago. But we have a long way to go, we need to get some rest and get ready for our first road game on Wednesday.”

On whether he saw this performance coming:
“Yeah, when every shot goes in, that’s my style. It makes a coach look real smart – my suits look better, everything looks better when the shots go in. But I was really impressed more with our defense today. I know we had a (Cronin-era) record assists and scored a lot of points, but our defense was suffocating. (Robert Morris) had three baskets in the second half with a minute left – that’s unheard of. And that’s a team that went to the NCAA tournament last year. They have the preseason player of the year in their league with Rodney Pryor and NBA scouts know who he is. Our defense was by far the best it has been all season. It was the first time we really used our press and that had a big effect on the game.”



Cincinnati Player Quotes

#25 Kevin Johnson, G

On the change in pace and scoring after the first 10 minutes:
“Honestly, I’d just say we’re a rhythm team. We just had to feel out that defense. It was the first time we’d seen zone all year so it slowed us down a little bit but once we got our defense going, got a couple stops that led into some easy transition buckets that’s also how we like to score. And then from that point on we had to worry about our post-up game, kicking out and making shots. It breaks the defense down to open up our offense.”

On playing in platoons tonight:
“I just like to have a rhythm on the court. So, if it’s platoon and it’s working then I’m with it. Sometimes he doesn’t do it though and sometimes he does. I think today it worked out pretty well. It showed that we have a deep team. Really, we can do a lot of combinations man, we’ve got big fellows, we’ve got guards, we’ve got shooters, we’ve got two point guards who love to pass and can pass. It’s a system that’s working.”

On the difference between the style of play this year and last year:
“The big difference is that it’s a free flow.  It’s basically Coach believing in our players just to make the right decisions. Getting the ball up the court fast, penetrating and kicking out, getting that ball to the post and letting people do what they’re best at- being talented and making the right play.”

Is the new style more fun to play?
“It’s a lot more fun.  You know you’ll get a lot of shots, the ball will come back to you. Regardless of if you’re in or out or having a rough shooting night. Trust me, the ball will come back and you will get open shots because as a team we love each other. We love to pass and when you’ve got that feeling, shots will go in eventually.”

On what Mick said to the team after the game:
“He basically told us, no practice.  No practice tomorrow, just come ready to play Tuesday.  The older we get, we know each game is a different game. And each game we have to bring our A game, definitely early in the season watching some teams get upset. It’s easy to get upset, so with us being older and a team that’s kind of been through the fight a little bit we know Bowling Green is probably another team that will put up a fight and we need to come out and do exactly what we need to do- how we played tonight.”

On how they played hard the whole game, even though they were winning by so much:
“We’ve watched Robert Morris come back a couple times. It’s a team that likes to stay and fight. And Coach warned us about that, and like we said we just try to be relentless all the time. It’ll carry over to big games, the UConns and SMUs when we need to be relentless as well for 40 minutes. So we’re just trying to build up what we want to be known for.”

On Justin and how the way he played tonight compares to how he plays in practice:
“That’s definitely what he’s known for, getting in the lane and making incredible passes that you don’t think he would ever even see and he makes it happen.  So tonight, he was just starting to get his rhythm and we believe in Justin since day one and we’re going to rock with it. We’re definitely with him man, we believe in him.”

#22 Coreonte DeBerry, C

On the assists for this team and playing in the post:
“I’m an easy target. I attract a lot of attention down low so once I get the ball down low I’ve got Kevin, Farad, we’ve got so many good shooters on our team and it’s easy to kick it back out and they’ve got a wide open shot.”

On being in better shape and playing more minutes:
“It feels way better, being 30 pounds less.  It was like I had a piano on my back, now I can actually run the floor with my teammates and get open to score. So, it feels really good to get in better shape.”

On the attitude they want to play with, focusing on trapping and turnovers:
“Coach basically told us what that team was going to do and who they were going to pass it to. And it was right there. He had nobody to pass it to, and I read the trap and we just trapped him. There wasn’t anything else he could do.”

On playing with Justin and his passing:
“Justin is a fast player, so when I’m on the court with Justin I’ve got to be alert at all times because I never know when he’s going to throw the pass. So I just have to have my hands ready basically because he’s a fast player and he’s got great court IQ. He knows who’s open and he knows when to throw the pass.  He’s a good player to have on our team.”

Robert Morris head coach Andrew Toole

Thoughts on the game:
“First of all let me say I'm sorry. That was embarrassing. I would love if you didn't refer to us as an NCAA team anymore. That was different group. That was a different team and that is what we talked about in the locker room. A lot of the offensive issues were on me. We did a lot of the switching match-up and we have not done that before this season yet, although it is early. It really stalled our ability to do really just about anything. We had some guys out there that were out of position and that was some of our offensive woes from the beginning and then that led to our defensive woes as well. It really is just a shame to lose by that many points. I told them that in the locker room. I don't care if we lose by 62, 72, 82, or even 92. But in the certain way that you do it. There is a certain way that you fight to compete the entire game. You have to get angry at a game like this as a squad like ours. From the top to the bottom you might think we have the world’s toughest team and we don't. If we come to a place like Cincinnati and expect to win that just will not happen no matter what we do and we kind of get scared when that happens. So clearly it was an awful performance and a lot of guys who puff their chest out, their balloons got popped pretty quick today.”

On RMU’s best moment:
“We played alright in the beginning, it was 13-12. We seemed to be doing some good stuff. We followed some of our zone rules and the first couple of positions they got late in the shot clock. But then it is a sustained effort. Can we keep it at that place and compete with them? Can we raise our level to where they were at the entire game? We couldn't even organize our press break and to me that is sad. It's something that we talk about, it’s simple. It's doing it with pace and accuracy.”

On Cincinnati:
“I am honestly surprised they are not in the top 25 teams this year to begin with. They play well together and they all share the basketball. Who cares who scores and shoots, it should be caring about who wins and they are a team that cares about winning more than anything else. They did a great job against us not like we gave them much resistance. They came prepared to play and took it to us.”